New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday adjourned various petitions which hearing for the petitions of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act, and the Foreign Marriage Act to 20 April.
The government has informed the Delhi HC that it has prepared its reply to petitions seeking the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. A Division Bench headed by Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw deferred the matter for April 20.
The Plea filed by advocates Mukesh Sharma and Raghav Awasthi urged the Delhi High Court to issue a declaration to the effect that since Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1956 does not distinguish between Homosexual and Heterosexual couples, the right of same-sex couples to marry should be recognized under the said Act.
It said that as of now, the law sees the members of the LGBT community as individuals only and not as couples and the community members are forced to suppress their feelings of getting married to the person of their own choice.
The petitioners further submitted that there is nothing in the Hindu Marriage Act of 1956 that mandates that marriage should take place only between a Hindu man and a Hindu woman. Section 5 of the Act clearly lay down that marriage can be performed between 'any two Hindus' under the Act.
"That it is further submitted that despite the fact that there is absolutely no statutory bar under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and the Special Marriage Act of 1956 against gay marriage, the same is not being registered throughout the country and also in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. As a result of the same, there are many benefits that would otherwise be available to heterosexual married couples that are not available to them," the petition read.
The prohibition of the marriage of LGBT people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is absolute discrimination towards them and is also violative of the Right to Equality as granted by the Constitution of India, the plea said. It is now a well-admitted fact that the Right to Marry is a part of "Right to Life" under Article 21 of The Constitution of India, the plea said.